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No matter which website you access online, there is always some form of encryption or other security measure backing it up. With time, encryption methods have evolved and become more complex. SHA, RSA SSL, ECC SSL, etc., are some of the most commonly used encryption methods. These methods are applied to ensure that all of our private data and conversation remain encrypted online.
Cyberattacks and online threats have increased exponentially in the past few years. Therefore, the need for advanced encryption methods has become imperative. The ongoing advancements have led security enthusiasts to develop power encryption methods like ECC SSL.
The method is way more powerful than RSA and benefits the future security landscape. Now, what is ECC SSL, how does it work, and where to get the ECC SSL certificate? Let’s read ahead and find out!
ECC stands for elliptical curve cryptography. Based on the algebraic properties of elliptical curves, ECC is a unique and more powerful asymmetric encryption method than RSA. The powerful encryption algorithm was first proposed by Neal Koblitz and Victor S. Miller in 1985. Both of them independently suggested it.
Unlike RSA, ECC relies on the discovery of discrete logarithms of a random elliptic curve.
To put it in a more friendly way, ECC operates on the assumption that while computing a point multiplication is theoretically possible, computing the multiplicand from just the original and product points is impossible. If the size of the curve is increased, the difficulty level can increase by multiple folds.
In today’s highly comparative world, where the amount of data is in large heaps and is at a higher risk online, the use of such encryption is imperative.
When it comes to reasons to choose an ECC SSL certificate, there is no shortage. Though today RSA encryption is widely popular, its days are countable. As the complexity of data increases online, website owners are adopting the ECC SSL certificate to stay on top of security.
Here are the factors that rank the ECC SSL certificate over all other certificates!
The number one USP of the elliptic curve SSL certificate is its keys. In contrast to RSA, the encryption method involves the usage of shorter yet stronger keys. For example, for an 80-bit security strength, the length of an RSA key is 1024 bits. On the other hand, elliptic curve cryptography uses a 160-bit key. RSA key of 3072 bits is as powerful as the 384-bit ECC key.
The benefit of shorter keys is visible on the server, as there is less overhead in the handshake process. On the other hand, due to longer keys, the RSA algorithm is highly taxing on the server.
Another benefit of ECC is that it can be used on mobile and IoT devices. Shorter keys require less processing power.
As the server is required to share a copy of the SSL certificate to establish a connection, more data is transmitted over the network in the case of RSA encryption. ECC certs have smaller keys and thus transmit fewer data during the SSL handshake.
Among these, the use of an ECC SSL certificate elevates the network performance.
Elliptic key cryptography is based on plotting points on an elliptic curve. Other the other hand, the RSA cryptography technique involves prime factorization. Now, no matter how big be keys in RSA Cryptography are, the prime factorization method can be easily applied to hack the information. The technology today can easily match up the speed and complexity required for the same.
However, elliptic key cryptography deals with plotting random points. As they can be an infinite number of points on an elliptic curve, encryption done by the same will be super secure. Right now, breaking the encryption would be impossible. It can be possible when quantum computers are powerful enough in the future.
When it comes to scalability, the ECC method has a program. How?
In the RSA encryption method, increasing the length of the key will not increase security. Hence, increasing the key size will only increase the load on the server. On the other hand, the ECC method works in the opposite way.
The keys are already small, and if they are made longer, the security will be more powerful. In the long run, using the RSA encryption method will be obsolete as scalability would not be possible.
Maintaining secrecy means ensuring that the encrypted message cannot be decrypted into plain text by hackers in any way. RSA encryption has longer keys, but with fast computing of today makes it possible for hackers to convert your encrypted message into plain text. But, it can be avoided if the perfect forward secrecy method is used.
The perfect forward secrecy method involves encrypting the data with keys that keep on changing frequently or automatically. These keys can change with each session or message. Therefore, if private keys are compromised for one session, the hacker will get only a limited amount of information as the private key for the next session will be different. These keys are known as ephemeral keys.
ECC uses ephemeral keys to ensure that all of your messages or sessions remain a secret.
In an overall aspect, you can say that an ECC cert is an exceptional choice to ensure optimum and powerful security online. However, there are some limitations. For example, the ECC certificate is not supported by old browser versions. If you want to use the ECC cert, you need to use the most recent version of your browser.
Here are the browser versions that support the ECC SSL certificate!
|Browser||Version Required (on ECC compatible OS)|
|Google Chrome||1.0 or above|
|Internet Explorer||7 or above|
|Safari||4 or above|
|Firefox||2.0 or above|
Servers that Support ECC SSL certificate!
|Apache Tomcat||1.1.30 or above|
|Dovecat||2.2.5 or above|
|IBM HTTP Server||8.0 w/ PM80235|
|Nginx||1.1.0 or above|
|Sun Java System Web Server||7.0 or above|
|Apache HTTP Server||2.2.26 or above|
The ECC SSL certificate differs from RSA SSL in a number of ways. Though we have discussed it in length in the above sections, let’s have a quick recap of all the major differences.
|ECC SSL||RSA SSL|
|ECC works on the representation of elliptic curves.||The RSA encryption uses the prime factorization method for producing the keys.|
|ECC uses shorter keys, and the security increases by increasing the key size.||RSA uses longer keys, and by increasing the key size, the load on the server increases.|
|ECC encryption uses ephemeral keys that provide maximum secrecy to your online session.||RSA encryption can be hacked as it uses the same public-private key pair for each session.|
|The shorter keys of ECC reduce the processing power required for encryption and decryption.||RSA uses longer keys that tax the server heavily in the backend.|
With the comprehensive analysis of the ECC SSL certificate, you would have made up your mind to get the ECC cert for your website. However, as the certificate is new, not all the certificate authorities provide it. There are very few that provide you with ECC SSL certificates. Though you can opt for Comodo ECC SSL, Sectigo ECC Certificates, DigiCert, etc., the most affordable ones are from Cheap SSL Web.
The current online security scenario is evolving, and ECC is one of the revolutionary discoveries. Compared to the market-trending RSA encryption, it is not that popular, but it is slowly gaining attention with its cutting-edge features. The technology is fast, uses fewer resources, and provides better security. For all the website site owners who want to top up their website security, an ECC SSL certificate is a must-have.